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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


World of Toys will make move to larger space, across street

(Oct. 13, 2016) Berlin’s World of Toys, a colorful downtown shop that has built a loyal customer base during the last four years, is moving next spring – across the street.
Currently housed at 110 North Main Street, World of Toys will move into the much larger space on 115 North Main Street when Toy Town Antiques moves to Snow Hill in April.
Born in Russia, World of Toys owner Olga Kozhevnikova came to the United States in 1998 as an exchange student. She bought a house in Berlin in 2010, and opened her shop in 2012.
“I was looking for options to open my own business and my Realtor said to me, ‘Go to Berlin. Look at these businesses – look how well they do,’” she said.
Kozhevnikova holds a teaching degree, specializing in physics and mathematics, and has a separate degree in accounting. In her native country, she ran an accounting business. Looking around in Berlin four years ago, however, she could only find retail spaces available in the downtown.
She enrolled in a class at Wor-Wic for new entrepreneurs. Asked what her business would entail, she sheepishly said, “I think I want to sell toys.” She may have been partially inspired by her daughter, who was 1-year-old at the time.
“I wasn’t sure,” she said. “The idea was kind of spontaneous. I downloaded a book, ‘How to Become a Toy Store Owner.’”
Kozhevnikova started taking the class in January, and a month later registered to attend a major toy fair in New York City as the sole proprietor of an as-yet-unnamed business.
“I came from the toy fair with a couple of suitcases full of magazines of very good product that you don’t see in every store, so I finished the class and put a business plan together,” she said.
One of the vendors she met in New York, Melissa & Doug, would become a mainstay of the shop and is still heavily featured today.
Around May 2012, space opened on 110 North Main Street when, ironically, Toy Town Antiques moved to the much more expansive 4,800 square-foot space across the street.
“I opened with two companies – now I work with over 60 companies,” Kozhevnikova said. “I have tons of inventory and a couple of years ago I realized I didn’t have enough space, but there was nothing available in town.”
During Black Fridays, when the town traditionally hosts its Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, Kozhevnikova said it’s not uncommon to have 40 people and 10 strollers packed inside the small space.  
Then, a light bulb went off about three months ago when she saw a Gazette article on Facebook announcing that Toy Town Antiques was moving.
“I made a phone call like a second later,” she said, adding that both buildings share the same landlord, John Barrett. According to Kozhevnikova, the rest of the phone call went something like this:
“I want the space!” she said.
“Are you for real? You want the space?” Barrett said.
“Yes!” she said.
“OK. Are you sure?” Barrett said.
“Yes, I’m sure!” she said.
“It’s big …” Barrett said.
“I know it’s big!” she said.
Eventually, Kozhevnikova convinced her once and future landlord that she was, indeed, quite serious.
“It’s not about how much rent I’m going to be paying, I just need the space to display everything better and make a bigger display area for the kids,” she said. “It should also be much more convenient for my customers.”
She said the Melissa & Doug company have already told her she can open “anything for the kids” for display purposes in the new location, meaning customers should be able to get a better sense of many of the products before committing to a purchase. There’s only so much a picture on a box can tell you, after all.
“I’m planning on putting a couch, chairs, a train table, and a rug on the floor so the kids can do floor puzzles,” Kozhevnikova said of the expanded play area she’s planning. She will also have samples out of games that kids can “try before they buy” at the new space, which she cannot do now.
“I also have a lot of customers who come in and ask, ‘do you have this product?’ and I have to tell them I’m sorry, but I don’t have enough room,” she said. “That’s my major thing – I can bring more product.”
That might include – just maybe – adding the popular Lego line.
“I’ll do my best,” she said.
If all goes well, the new location will be running by May.
“April 1 is the time when we take possession,” she said. “My first couple weeks, I’ll keep this store open and I’ll try to preorder as much as I can for that store. I’ll be open in May for sure. I’ll work 24-7 if I have to!
“There are a few things that need to be fixed and we would like to change the lighting in that store, and we have to build a wall to separate the receiving area from the rest of the store, but the rest would be just putting the displays together and putting inventory on the shelf,” Kozhevnikova added.
Her excitement level, she said, is through the roof.
“I couldn’t sleep the first night after I found out,” Kozhevnikova said. “I will open the store as fast as I can. I’m excited because I can do so much and offer so much for the customers, and the companies that I work with – you can’t find them at Wal-Mart or Toys R Us.”
For more information on World of Toys, visit